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Trade Me bans brachycephalic dog breeds

Trade Me has banned the sale of three brachycephalic dog breeds from its site.

17 July 2018

Pugs, French Bulldogs and English Bulldogs have been banned from sale on Trade Me.

The decision to ban these breeds

We didn’t take this decision lightly. These breeds suffer acutely from brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) which dramatically impacts the quality of their life. Any breathing issues in dogs is something we want to avoid. 

Even when the dog is not severely affected, BOAS will cause noisy breathing, snorting and snoring. However, in many dogs the symptoms are so severe that the dog will have trouble exercising (walking for longer than 3 minutes), and find it difficult to moderate their body temperature through panting and often overheat, sometimes fatally. 

As a result, it’s common for BOAS sufferers to faint, vomit, cough or gag. Many dogs also have chronic sleep deprivation due to their breathing problems. The disorder has been likened to the feeling of breathing through a pillow. Research we’ve seen shows that 90-95% of these dogs have BOAS to varying degrees.

It’s the extent and severity of the BOAS symptoms in these breeds that prompted us to act. 

We know how loved and popular these breeds are but after consultation with a range of animal experts including the New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) and the SPCA we felt we couldn’t, in good conscience, continue to allow the sale of animals who suffer lifelong health issues.

Trade Me worked with the SPCA to reach this decision

SPCA CEO Andrea Midgen agrees that these dogs deserve better. Pugs, British bulldogs and French bulldogs are lovely little dogs, but their exaggerated physical features cause them considerable welfare issues.

She urges those New Zealanders looking for a new addition to their family, to instead consider adopting one of the thousands of rescue dogs who are looking for homes.

SPCA CEO Andrea Midgen agrees these dog breeds deserve better.

The New Zealand Veterinary Association shares Trade Me’s concerns

NZVA Chief Executive Officer Mark Ward says that the veterinary profession has long held concerns for many breeds of cats and dogs whose welfare is compromised from being bred to look a certain way. The rise in popularity of English bulldogs, French bulldogs and pugs has seen a marked increase in supply of dogs with exaggerated features which cause serious health issues including breathing difficulties and eye problems.

Without correctional surgery, large numbers of these dogs live with chronic pain and distress, with many owners and breeders unaware that their dog is suffering.

The breeds can still be listed for adoption

For us this isn’t making judgements about current owners of these breeds, but sees this as an opportunity to educate potential and current owners.

The ban extends to crossbreeds to remove the risk of misrepresentation of animals across the site, which will allow this policy to be effectively managed. Because we understand there will still be a need for these dogs to be rehomed, these breeds can still be listed for adoption onsite.